Northwell to hold second annual Gun Violence Prevention Forum

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Northwell Health President Michael Dowling speaks at the 2019 Gun Violence Prevention Forum. (Photo courtesy of Northwell Health)

Northwell Health has announced that it will host the second annual Gun Violence Prevention Forum, with leaders in health care and other fields discussing how to address the bloodshed in communities and gun violence as a public health issue.

“Gun violence is a public health emergency and it’s on us to keep the conversation going and work together to find solutions,” said Michael Dowling, Northwell’s president and CEO. “We have a great opportunity here to find common ground, speak about what is truly happening in our inner cities and other communities, and fix it. Our communities deserve better.”

Among the headline speakers are Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and co-founder of Everytown for Gun Safety; former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who became a victim of gun violence when she was shot in the head during a mass shooting that killed six people and injured 12 others; U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), who fought for solutions to gun violence after 20 children and six educators were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School; and John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the United States.

Erica Ford, CEO of Life Camp Inc., one of the leading violence prevention and intervention organizations in the United States, will provide insight on issues facing communities of color, and Thomas Jackiewicz, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, and Dr. Peter Slavin, president of Massachusetts General Hospital, who established the hospital’s Center for Gun Violence Prevention, will discuss health care collaboration.

“We have an outstanding roster of experts who can not only speak to the issues of gun violence but who are living it every day,” said Dr. Chethan Sathya, director of Northwell’s Center for Gun Violence Prevention and a pediatric trauma surgeon. “As a pediatric surgeon, I too have experienced this firsthand, having pulled bullets out of babies. It’s a growing issue and we need to continue to have these important discussions to provide the attention it needs.”

Northwell’s inaugural Gun Violence Prevention Forum in 2019 ended with Dowling pledging $1 million toward Northwell’s effort, which helped create the health system’s Center for Gun Violence Prevention.

In September, Northwell secured $1.4 million from the National Institutes of Health to study gun violence prevention and establish the “We Ask Everyone. Firearm Safety is a Health Issue” research study, which instituted universal screenings for those at risk of firearm injury at three hospitals in the health system. Emergency department clinicians are now asking patients specific questions about having firearms in their homes to determine their risk of injury.

“As we’ve learned this year with the pandemic, social injustices and excessive gun violence, it will take us all working together to make significant change,” Dowling said. “The Gun Violence Prevention Forum will continue our momentum. But rest assured, we won’t stop until we finally have viable solutions for gun violence.”

Due to the pandemic, the event will be held virtually at 11 a.m. on Dec. 10. Registration is currently open.

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